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Messages - Hudson Owen

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126
Writers' Cafe / Re: Do You Make Money From Your Blog?
« on: July 30, 2015, 07:24:21 am »
I had some six figure years as a blogger, writing in the (I kid you not) home improvement niche. I owned all of my own sites, learned SEO and how to get traffic to them, wrote lots of content, and used a mix of affiliate programs, link sales, and Adsense for my income. Non-fiction can be pretty lucrative, though it takes a while to get blogs going, and there's a ton of competition out there now.

These days, I've replaced my blogging income with author income, and the only blog I maintain is related to self-publishing and my books. I have affiliate links to my books in the sidebar, and I'll mention them occasionally in posts, and make about $50-$100/month from that (I make quite a bit more from sending out links to my books, and other books in my genre that I've read and liked, to my newsletter subscribers).

It's tough to make serious income with a book-focused blog, since books are such low-end items, unless you're doing the BookBub model where you're getting tons and tons of subscribers (even then, they make most of their income from their list, rather than from books listed on their site).


Most of the comments here are about the good ole days.  I intend to write about all sorts of things with a possible "major" in health topics.  I would be satisfied with $300 per month.  Is that doable on Worpress with my own domain and a distribution like poetmail, a WP plug-in?

127
Writers' Cafe / Re: Do You Make Money From Your Blog?
« on: July 29, 2015, 08:36:42 pm »
[quote
So I've got to own my own domain.  OK.  In a barter economy, I guess it would be nice to have Toyota fix your car.  That would be worth a whole boatload of small sums you might collect from AdSense, etc.  Did you try to include an estimate of such fares in the $6,000, or would that be too difficult?  Very nice description of the biz from A - Z.


The $6k per year was the payment into my bank account. the perks were able to be written off as expenses of the blogging job. They far exceeded the financial reward in value.

Times have changed in the few years since I stopped doing those jobs. I cannot believe though that any enterprising, self-motivated non-fiction writer could not create a market for their work if they have at least one aspect of life they are passionate about and knowledgeable enough to write about. Everything is an opportunity. Just ask nicely. If you have a garden blog, ask to trade plants for a write up about the nursery. A year later, show the nursery the blog about those plants growing well and set a fee if they would like to be mentioned in that latest blog as the nursery where the plants were purchased.

Along the same lines of creating your opportunities, half a century ago, When I was a teenager and wanted to be commissioned to paint dogs, I painted a dog on my shirt and went to a dog show--instant business. I'm certain that would still work today--and of course it scared me to do that. You just have to do scary things to get anywhere.

Just don't be afraid to offer the service you can provide another in return for what they can provide you. I guarantee that if you match your needs with the needs of the potential client you will get one affirmative taker if you ask ten times.

You make it all sound interesting and feasible.  Thanks.

I use mailchimp for distribution (I send out an email when I have a new release).  It works okay, but they have the lousiest interface I've seen in a while (not counting Google play uploads, which gets Lousiest).   Mailchimp is free if you keep the distribution under 1000.   There are other services if you want to price around. 

You'll still need to decide how to run a blog website--you'll need a company that hosts it or you have to set up your own server to 'host' it.   You can use wordpress (and that is my favorite) but you can also look into the other companies.  I think Lunarpages may have a service to help you set up a blog/website--many of the 'hosting' places probably do.  For that matter, Vistaprint has a service to help you get a blog/website set up.  I haven't used them, but I do use their print services and there may be cheaper services around. 

I think I'll probably stay with WP.  I'm familiar with it and can grow my business with it, accepting its limitations.

128
Writers' Cafe / Re: Do You Make Money From Your Blog?
« on: July 29, 2015, 12:03:34 pm »
I've actually tried to work with companies to do articles/pieces on my blog.  My blog doesn't get enough traffic, apparently.  I've even approached a couple of companies about using their products in my books--not for an ad fee, but because I wanted info on their product that was pertinent to the story.  They didn't even respond.  So, in short, it's not necessarily that easy to get buy in.  You really do have to have the traffic.  I've had multiple product companies thank me for mentioning their products (this was unpaid, just blog posts I did because of my experiences).  Still no bites.  Mostly I get "affiliate" deals.

My husband ran a finance blog and he did not make money from his blog.  He didn't try either at the time, but as we were getting into changing our blogs into making money, he was on wordpress.com--and that was hurting his opportunities because they have restrictions on what you can do (no google ads, etc.  Apparently it would have been okay to list affiliate links although I think he did ask and was told no).   In reality, if I am unable to have my blog pay for itself by the affiliate codes and selling of actual books, I might very well just be on FB.  Of course, just because my traffic on FB is very good today, tomorrow, traffic might swing back over to the blog so that is another reason I keep it! 



If I get my own domain, as WP keeps urging me to do, do I cut myself free from WP? Of am I tied to what is allowable under WordAds?  My strength, as I imagine it, is in my essays.  I am seeking a wider audience for them.  WP has something called Mailipoet for distribution of  newsletters.    Maybe, as I imagine it, that is the way to go and I climb the ladder toward national recondition.  A moment in the spotlight  bigger than BookBub.  Witout paying their high prices.

129
Writers' Cafe / Re: Do You Make Money From Your Blog?
« on: July 29, 2015, 11:01:45 am »
When my husband ran his blog there, he couldn't put up Amazon affiliate links from what we understood.  It's great if you can do so.  I plan to stick to my wordpress blog because we better control all the content, but it is more work than just a free one with a set template.  (It isn't the net versus com--it's more complicated than that.  Maybe that link provided above will help.)   I should note that I pay for my domain and I also pay a hosting company (I use Lunarpages and am an affiliate for them as well--http://www.lunarpages.com/id/BearMountainBooks).   One of the reasons I do ads is to pay for the various fees that come with running a blog.  Lunarpages is pretty reasonable, averaging about 7 dollars a month so I don't have to make much in affiliate fees to cover that cost.

I have seen many blogs use Donate buttons.  I don't know how well it works as I haven't tried it. 

I have not tried to make money from pininterest.  I have gotten a few referrals/clicks from there because of photos that other people uploaded from my blog, but that's just random traffic from various topics I cover (gardening and soap making usually). 

So your husband had a blog and gave it up?  Any particular reason?
I used to make $6,000. a year from my blogs from 2009 until 2012, plus travel and entertainment perks. Then I quit that non-fiction work to focus on fiction writing. Periodically I would return to the work. The clients would always have assignments for me. No, I can't share who all those clients were, as former clients are my back up income if I want do the work again.

I can tell you that it is a flow on from being a magazine reporter, you just make your blog work as a magazine does. Magazines and TV lifestyle shows are paid money for the products and places they show in photos and mention, even when it is not written as an advertisement for those things. Let's say that Disney wants you to take your family somewhere and write about it in your blog. Deals like that pay money and the bonuses. At the very least they give out DVD movies for you to watch with the family and tell your readers what the children thought of the movie. You can write to such companies and make a suggestion. I've given you a lead there. Disney employs bloggers and pays well. I've done a few jobs for them.

You can drum up your blog jobs and perks or find a manager to do it. Another example: I loved my caravan. The caravan company loved that my caravan appeared in my travel blog. That company and I worked in well together by mutual arrangement.

Blogging work comes by using your initiative and creating blog job opportunities. Begin by stating to potential clients what you are willing to do research on, what you feel qualified to write about, and what you ethically would not write about in a positive manner. I would not promote 'con' weight loss, cosmetic surgery. gambling, adult only items, tobacco, drugs or alcohol. You can bet, those are the easiest jobs to get. Look at how many blogs want you to click on losing you belly fat. By refusing what to me wore the junk jobs I got some great ones--such as volunteers teaching handicapped children to ride horses. Hold out for the jobs you love doing and you get more like those by recommendation.

I was able to travel, and that assisted me to do the assignments I chose. I had a major car repair bill of thousands of dollars wiped by Toyota, who did the work for free because my vehicle was the caravan towing vehicle as seen on my blog. These perks far outweighed the income earned.

I have been approached by former clients again, recently. They seem more interested in having tweeters than bloggers these days, As I'm not much of a tweeter. I'm concerned that this new tweeting work might be spammy, and I'd not like to do that. Tweeting isn't my idea of writing. I should look into what they need before I reject it as spam.

In the past, I had full creative rights over what I wrote. I did enjoy the work. You don't have to do anything other than write about what interests you. Travel blogging brings travel jobs. Health blogging brings health care jobs. I loved all my assignments. I stopped taking blogging assignments to concentrate on fiction writing.

Some tips  to get work: Get a high ranking blog. Do it yourself with good information for readers.
You do need to own you domain and not be using a free domain name to earn good money blogging. You also need thousands of regular readers to draw high paying jobs, and you will not get the high ranking blog you need using a free domain name. If you accept spammy adds your ranking will drop. You need to get as many .gov jobs as you can as they assist you to rank higher in search engines.
I have never earned enough from advertisements or affiliate links to use them for more than a short trial. Using them would have stopped me getting the best jobs I've worked on. Those jobs are not given to bloggers who run advertisements in their blogs. I accept that affiliate linking works for some bloggers. I prefer to earn my living writing than by inserting links.


So I've got to own my own domain.  OK.  In a barter economy, I guess it would be nice to have Toyota fix your car.  That would be worth a whole boatload of small sums you might collect from AdSense, etc.  Did you try to include an estimate of such fares in the $6,000, or would that be too difficult?  Very nice description of the biz from A - Z.

130
Writers' Cafe / Re: Do You Make Money From Your Blog?
« on: July 29, 2015, 09:43:28 am »
It's Wordpress.com blogs--the free ones that do not allow affiliate links.  I have a wordpress blog--but not the wordpress.com ones that come with the templates you choose and so on.  My husband designed my template and we can do whatever advertising we choose.  I also run my own blog store where I sell my books and offer free short stories, etc.  I don't think you can do that with wordpress.com either.

My WP blog is paid, for sound files.  But,no, it's a Wordpress.com and I dont have the freedom you do.  Mayre if I got a Wordpress.net site?

A "Donate" button would be okay, right? I think PayPal charges $5 for that, I wonder how many months it would take to get that back in donations?  :P

I've wondered about that.  If you had a lot of subscribers and you stated a goal, you might be able to run your own crowdfunded site.

131
Writers' Cafe / Re: Do You Make Money From Your Blog?
« on: July 29, 2015, 07:38:58 am »
I have a Wordpress blog.  I did not realize they were so stuffy.

132
Writers' Cafe / Re: Do You Make Money From Your Blog?
« on: July 28, 2015, 10:54:52 pm »
I make money through affiliate links.  Amazon's program is very good, and pays regularly.  Try this https://affiliate-program.amazon.com/

Thanks for the link.

First steps haven't changed. #1 is have content an audience wants. For us, that cane be our writing, inside scoops on what's coming in your genre, etc. then you monetize through affiliate networks, ad programs like Adsense, or take purchases through PayPal etc. generally the best monetized sites have new content every day.

I have heterodoxical interests including current events, but I couldn't post more often than once a week.

Eh, I make a few dollars here and there, but nothing major. I use Amazon Affiliate links and ads by Infolinks. I just link all the books I mention in reviews, highlights, new releases posts, recaps, etc., and then Infolinks just sticks ads around my blog. I just use it as a stream of (very minor) passive income, earning a few bucks here and there as people read through my posts and buy books they're interested in.

Thanks for that.

133
Writers' Cafe / Re: What to write next?
« on: July 28, 2015, 02:42:26 pm »
Write as if it were your last book.  It might be your best book.

134
Writers' Cafe / Re: New cover in my series.
« on: July 28, 2015, 02:36:16 pm »
Colorful and wonderful.  The leitmotifs are very interesting.

135
Writers' Cafe / Re: Do You Make Money From Your Blog?
« on: July 28, 2015, 02:29:37 pm »
I agree that cross posting to FB helps--but you can't just post ads for things to buy.  Like anything you have to have an audience.

I disagree about having to post every day.  I think every other day to set days works just as well. I've tried just about all the combinations and everyday can be too much and you can actually lose traffic (especially if you over post on FB.  You want to be seen, but you don't want people to hit the "stay friends but no longer see posts). 

It's not really that easy.  Things keep changing and you have to keep your audience happy, just like with writing.  Blogs are not nearly as popular as they once were.  FB is kind of arbitrary in what they show and just getting likes is not the same as people clicking through and buying!

I never sold anything on FB.  People I unfriended had a way of coming back, and that annoyed the hell out of me.  Every other day I received emails on how to get back into FB, and one day I pulled the plug.  My blog is totally different.  I have some reach with it.  Hollywood power players take notice if I rub their nose in the dirt.  I want to leverage that.  Maybe what I want is a newsletter.  There's no money in it, but it can give you any amount of exposure.

136
Writers' Cafe / Re: Do You Make Money From Your Blog?
« on: July 28, 2015, 02:10:43 pm »
I choose to take book ads from various authors now and then.   Basically I charge 5 dollars and do a book mention with the blurb.  Sometimes, if the author wants to do a post (like a guest post) I do that sort of ad instead.   But that is separate from the affiliate stuff.  Cozy mysteries do the best.

Being an affiliate just means you have links on the sidebar or I link to Amazon products.  If people buy, I get a commissions.  I don't have to link any specific products.  Since I review books on my blog and sometimes other products I have bought (I DO NOT ACCEPT PAYMENT FOR REVIEWS.  And I no longer post reviews to Amazon--just my blog.  My reviews are completely separate and just books I choose to read--not anything to do with book ads or highlighting a book).  At any rate, if I read a book and choose to review it, I often link to Amazon and to Kobo with buy links. If someone buys the books, I get a commission.  Sometimes I buy a nifty product like the Mint Cleaner and I'll talk about it on my blog and link to Amazon.  If someone buys i make money.

The person who said it's a lot harder to make money--yes it is.  I used to make 100 or so dollars a month just being an Amazon affiliate, but with the devices taking customers directly to Amazon customers 1. spend less time on blogs and 2. don't go through the blogs.  They have handy little icons they click instead and so my blog tag doesn't even register.

Kboards has tags--they are an AMazon affiliate.  It's part of how the forums stay open and run.  So if you click on a book link from here, Kboards may earn a small commission.

Because blog traffic is not as high as it once was and because Amazon has so many direct buyers/icons, it's much harder to earn money as an affiliate.  Kobo only pays within certain rules so it's very difficult to make money there.  B&N has a program but doesn't pay commissions on ebooks.  There's all kinds of things that no longer pay a commission, so it's much harder to make money blogging.

I'll take your advice, well, not to the bank.

137
Writers' Cafe / Re: Do You Make Money From Your Blog?
« on: July 28, 2015, 01:34:51 pm »
An Amazon Associate is a member of their affiliate program.  It's a way to make some money, i.e. if someone clicks to Amazon from your affiliate link, you get credit for any purchases they make (including products you didn't necessarily link to but they may have bought while they were there)


Is this a link you had on your blog?  It sounds too easy!

I had seven different "streams" of potential income for the blog.  I think I had AdSense.  There were affiliate offers as well.  Paid reviews, which were actually little more than clever ways to buy links back then.  I think I had direct product sales too.  I don't remember what the other three were.  Maybe I counted each affiliate network as a separate stream; I don't remember.

The one big thing is that I didn't hit the high amounts until I had multiple streams of potential income available.  That way, if one thing is slow one month, other things might be more popular.  So, you try to balance out the ups and downs of each stream by having multiple streams.

It was a lot of work too.  You can't just post once or twice a week and hope to get something out of it.  If you're not posting daily, you at least have to be doing something related to your blog on a pretty much daily basis.

If I had on seven league boots I probably wouldn't get seven streams of income.  I'd post once a week max.

138
Writers' Cafe / Re: Do You Make Money From Your Blog?
« on: July 28, 2015, 01:04:30 pm »
I'm an Amazon Associate, A Kobo affiliate and a few others.  I make enough for the blog to pay for the blog and sometimes a little more.   I occasionally will take ads (feature a book) on Wed or Sunday if the book meets certain criteria.   

Blog traffic is always down in the summer, every summer.
What were your duties as an Amazon Associate?  What do you mean by "take ads?"  You had a choice?

I used to.  I think the most I made was just under $600/mo.  But, that was years ago.  I don't think it would be as easy now to reach that point again as it was back then.  I'm sure it could still be done, but it would take a lot of effort.

I'd settle for half that amount.  What did you do, may I ask?

139
Writers' Cafe / Do You Make Money From Your Blog?
« on: July 28, 2015, 11:11:08 am »
I want to hear from those of you who make money, one way or another, from your blog.

140
Writers' Cafe / How Does AdSense Work For You?
« on: July 28, 2015, 07:16:17 am »
I have been writing essays for my blog for years on topics of interest.  Does that work with AdSense?  Is it totally separate?  I'd like to hear from those of you who get income from AdSense.  How does it work?

141
Your name needs to be larger on the cover.  (BTW, most covers flunk the thumbnail test.) I don't like the "with a touch of tenderness,"
even if it's true.  Go for one emotion.  And, hey, 19 customer reviews since June is not bad.

142
You wouldn't feel so charitable towards those 100 million gamers if they never bought a single book of yours.  My sense is that the average reader reads far fewer books in a year today--maybe three of=r four--than 50 years ago.  I think if you were raised as a gamer, you probably don't read very much; if you were raised as a reader, you are always going to have a book around.

However, videos have been around for awhile and the market has bottomed out--for the time being.  I'm not a gamer, but I watch a lot of TV (always have) and read fewer books.  I was waiting for the movie of "Unbroken" to come down in price when my sister sent me the book.  To my surprise, I read it rather quickly; the writing is masterful and it is one of the premier survivor stories from WWII.

 Do you want to submit to the author's choice of ending?  Or do you want an interactive ending that suits your fancy?

Whether books will hold their own in the next decade and beyond, is anyone's guess.  Books have been around for several thousand years.  For a fictional treatment of this, see my novella "Dear Cynthia."

143
Writers' Cafe / Re: What am I doing wrong? Advice needed...
« on: July 17, 2015, 09:08:54 pm »
I've nosed around your website, read your sample, and looked at your overall presentation, and I am fairly confident when I say, you will be come a cult writer.  That is, your major selling point will be yourself.   Get rid of the more extreme claims you make for your book, and that puzzling rapidly rotating image you have of yourself on your website, and present yourself calmly and fully.  The little details of  family life are going to become delicious scraps to your fans.   Given your remote location, the most important means of projecting yourself will be your mailing list.  You don't have your act together yet, but you will learn.  Some day you may make a triumphant world tour, and touch your fans, but you have a ways to go before that happens.

144
Writers' Cafe / Re: Text on covers
« on: July 16, 2015, 12:20:59 pm »
Hudson,

That was discussed in another thread. Ultimately, I decided to go with the suggestion that I play up the romantic aspect, as we couldn't be 100% certain if heavily implied drug use would be offensive to the models, therefore bringing them around to my door with pitchforks, and because romance is a better fit since that's what the story is - a romance story in where the characters happened to smoke weed.

:)

Rest assured, you are never going to deal directly with the models on Shutterstock or any of the big stock image companies.

145
Writers' Cafe / Re: Text on covers
« on: July 16, 2015, 11:41:42 am »
Phillip,

The story is about two college kids who get high a lot, who want to be in a romantic relationship but can't because of obstacles, hence the image of two college aged kids not quite touching but looking like they want to be.

Maybe I'm being too literal with everything, but I really do like the image; I'd like to be able to use it.

Thanks for the feedback! :)


Oh, so high means a drug high.  In that case, the image needs to reflect that.  Two kids blowing weed or something like that, so that the reader knows right away that the "high" is a drug high.  The present image does not reflect that.

146
Writers' Cafe / Re: Text on covers
« on: July 16, 2015, 09:26:29 am »
The problem is the title.  It states a genre: High Romance.  The couple does not say high romance.  It says tentative romance.  So your title would be "The Almost Kiss" or something like that.  The best images are by Cagnes.   

147
Writers' Cafe / Re: Goodreads: best way to use it
« on: July 13, 2015, 12:14:17 pm »
You can to absolutely nothing on Goodreads, and things will happen.  I looked one day and there was a review of my book.   It's like putting a line in the water and trolling.  The things I've done to promote my books have come to nothing.  Currently there are over 20 readers of one book.  There's no discussion, nothing.  Just what I catch with that fishing line.

148
Writers' Cafe / Re: What is your earliest memory of writing?
« on: July 10, 2015, 11:15:28 am »
How about my earliest memory of reading?  In the first grade I opened a library book.  It said: "Respect the grass on which you tread.  Twill bloom above you when you're dead."

149
Cin: I put in a series of question marks like this ??????? and Amazon interpreted that as two frownies (!)

150
No, you can't calculate exactly how much it matters, but it does. And the people on the board who sell a lot of copies seem pretty unanimous in agreeing that presentation matters. Can someone be successful with a bad or inappropriate cover? Of course. But why take the chance?

Now you're easing toward my position.  It's like Book A is flogged in promotion after promotion, and doesn't sell.  Book B sells right out of the chute.  The gods are cruel in the way they operate sometimes.

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